A few days ago I returned to Sivananda Yoga Retreat Center after almost two weeks in Miami-South Beach style. When I got back  on Paradise Island there was some serious weather hanging around. After dinner that evening, I took a walk with my friend Saraswati to the favorite Atlantis Starbucks across the old Club Med field from the ashram. It was raining lightly then. Upon our return we noticed people milling about when everyone should have been together for satsang in the temple. Soon we realized everyone was huddled in the covered outdoor dining area awaiting evacuation instructions. I packed up my laptop and toothbrush and joined the group. While we were there someone was playing a guitar and a group of us were harmonizing on one of the main mantras, “Om Namah Sivaya”. Around 9 PM we headed off by buses to Atlantis to wait out the storm.

We were dropped off at a main entrance to the mega-casino billion dollar development and left to our own devices. Originally we were told we would be there an hour. We did not get back to the ashram until after midnight.

Having just returned from Miami that afternoon I was a bit more acclimated to the betting and booze atmosphere of the casino– but it was still a shock to be there when I expected to be settling back into my tent at the ashram.

20120516-201752.jpgOne of the Miami Pleasure Shops

Atlantis is one huge place for entertainment of the wandering, unsettled mind. My mind would not have been too unsettled except that I was tired from traveling and I realized I had lost my iPhone on the way back from the earlier Starbucks excursion!

20120516-203044.jpgFavorite Starbucks and a Couple of Favorite Yogis

It was as surreal to walk through the Atlantis casino as it was strange in Miami to see the sex shops and the Larmborghinis. (As you might imagine, the ashram does not promote gambling, sex or fast cars.) What was interesting was my lack of reaction to it all. There was a type of detachment as I walked through the casino and as I moved about the glitzy tourism of Miami. In the past I might has been judgmental or excited. This time it was smooth sailing–even with the bad weather rambling about the island.

Om shanti

PS I found my cell phone the next morning about where I thought I had dropped it in the field. Although it had been out in the pouring rain all night, it started up, re-charged and is working better than ever! Go Apple! Or maybe I should thank Shiva!